Tech executive Rosenbaum dropping out of Democratic race for Md. governor

This content was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

Michael Rosenbaum, the Baltimore tech executive who hoped to replicate his private sector success in a political campaign, is announcing Tuesday that he is dropping out of the 2022 Democratic race for governor.

Rosenbaum was a novice candidate but an ebullient presence on the campaign trail, offering detailed proposals for jump-starting the state economy and building wealth among struggling Maryland families.

But even with the ability to spend a significant amount of his personal income on the race for governor, Rosenbaum said he came to the conclusion that he had no path to victory in the June 28 Democratic primary.

“My campaign was launched around the vision that Maryland can and must do more to help Marylanders achieve economic security and become a model for how to rebuild our systems to enable every person to have dignity,” Rosenbaum said in a statement. “I will continue to advocate for this vision, but at this time, I have concluded that a campaign for governor is not the most effective way forward in achieving the kind of change I believe is necessary for Maryland to thrive. Therefore, I have decided to end my campaign for governor and return to the private sector.”

Rosenbaum had begun airing a 30-second video on social media and certain TV platforms earlier this month, spending in “the low six figures,” according to his campaign. But he remained essentially unknown to most core Democratic voters.

Rosenbaum’s departure trims the Democratic field for governor to eight candidates — though with almost three months until the filing deadline, it’s conceivable that some late-starting contender could still get in. Because Rosenbaum was not very well known to Democratic voters, it seems unlikely that his withdrawal from the race will change the overall dynamic of the primary, which is still taking shape. His departure leaves author and former foundation CEO Wes Moore as the only Baltimore-based candidate in the Democratic race.

A more intriguing question, however, may be what happens to Rosenbaum’s seasoned campaign team, which included his campaign manager, Travis Tazelaar, the former executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party who had managed the gubernatorial campaign of the 2018 Democratic nominee, Benjamin T. Jealous, and a top adviser and fundraiser, Colleen Martin-Lauer, who has an array of clients in Maryland and is closely associated with the political network of former Gov. Martin J. O’Malley (D).

Some political strategists suggested that Rosenbaum would spend upwards of $10 million of his own money on the race — a significant and potentially game-changing sum. But while Rosenbaum said he was willing to spend some personal resources to be competitive in the crowded primary, he never confirmed that substantial figure, and it’s clear that he became unwilling to invest more in a longshot bid.

Rosenbaum said he hoped to remain active in civic life and policy debates over the state’s future direction. And it would not be surprising to see some of his ideas on job creation and reimagining the workforce incorporated into the platforms of some of the other eight men who are running for governor.

“For more than 20 years I’ve dedicated my life’s work toward helping to create more pathways into the middle class, and to ensure that more Marylanders and Americans can achieve economic security and dignity,” Rosenbaum said. “As an entrepreneur, I’ll continue to champion my belief that we should not shy away from what is possible simply because it is difficult. I look forward to supporting whichever candidate ultimately becomes our nominee and offer my sincere gratitude to my staff, volunteers and donors who supported our campaign.”

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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